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LETTER xxv       ' A " DANGEROUS MARCH"                    185

still he did not move. I went up to him and said
sharply, " Come, get up, old Boy" and he struggled slowly
to his feet, shook himself, and at once fumbled in my
pockets for food, thumping me with his head as usual
when he failed to find any. He was benumbed by
sleeping on the damp ground in the hoar-frost. The
next night he chose to sleep under the verandah of my
tent, snoring loudly. He has became quite a friend and

The sowars finally left me there, and I was escorted
by the "ketchuda, a very pleasant intelligent man of
considerable property, with his two retainers. The
next stage has the reputation of being " very dangerous,"
and many people anxious to go to the next village
joined my caravan. My tents were guarded by eight
wild-looking village Kurds, armed with clubbed sticks
and long guns. I asked the Jeetchuda if two were not
enough, and he said that I should only pay for two,
the others were there for his satisfaction, that two might
combine to rob me, but that more would watch each
other, and that the robbers of this region do not pilfer in
ones and twos, but swoop down on tents in large parties.

The next march is chiefly along valleys among low
hills. The ketchuda did much scouting, not without
good reason, and we all kept close together. A party of
well-mounted men rode down upon us and joined us.
Mirza sidled up to me, and in his usual cheery tones
said " Madam, these are robbers." They were men of a
well-known band, under one Hassan Khan. They spoke
Persian, and Mirza kept me informed of what they were
saying. They said they had been out a night and a day
without success, and they must take my baggage and
horse—they wanted horses badly. The Jcetchuda, to
whom they were well known, remonstrated with them,
and the parley went on for some time, they insisting, and